PHILIPPINES President Rodrigo Duterte has accused the US President Donald Trump of being “scared” of triggering a war with China over the disputed South China Sea.
President Duterte’s comments follow the Philippines accusing China of trespassing in Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag. Mr Duterte warned Beijing’s increased military presence was “endangering” the lives of Filipino fishermen by Thitu Island. He recently called out their ally, the US, for being “scared” to support them in a war with China, Business World reported.
Mr Duterte said in a speech at Agusan del Norte: ”America was scared. They knew that war about something so small is not worth it.
“Because if they hit us and America decides to help, it could trigger a world war. America knows it. Everybody does.
“If those nuclear bombs, atom bombs, and hydrogen bombs will explode, nothing will be left of this world. We would all be destroyed.
“So America said, both of you should retreat.’ Del Rosario, former Foreign Affairs Secretary, ordered our ship to retreat, but China refused to follow. That is why they filed a case.”
The President was referring to the deal the US-brokered between the Philippines and China which asked the countries to withdraw vessels from the area.
The Philippines pulled their vessels out of the area but China reportedly did not.
Mr Duterte added the US thinks it is “not worth it” to start a war with China over the Scarborough Shoal.
He said: “We can’t defeat them. So let’s stick to just talking.”
The Philippines and the US are under the Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) where each ally must provide aid in the event of an armed attack against either Washington or Manila by an external party, the PNA reported.
Tensions in the South China Sea have risen in the past year as the US tries to push back China’s hold on the region.
The Filipino president previously warned China of “suicide missions” if China doesn’t retreat from Thitu Island.
He said: “I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pagasa because I have soldiers there.
“If you touch it, that’s another story. Then I will tell my soldiers ‘prepare for suicide missions.”
The country’s warning to China has reportedly strengthened the Philippine’s alliance with the US who are fighting to push back China’s hold on the disputed waters.